Cirrhosis - Symptoms & Treatment
Cirrhosis is a condition that causes irreversible scarring of the liver. It removes or neutralizes poisons from the blood produces immune agents to control infection and removes germs and bacteria from the blood. This makes it increasingly difficult for your liver to carry out essential functions, such as detoxifying harmful substances, purifying your blood and manufacturing vital nutrients. The diseases that lead to cirrhosis do so because they injure and kill liver cells, and the inflammation and repair that is associated with the dying liver cells causes scar tissue to form. The liver cells that do not die multiply in an attempt to replace the cells that have died. If scar tissue keeps blood from flowing normally through the liver, the blood doesn't get filtered. Poisons and wastes can build up in the body. The liver's blood supply comes from the hepatic artery, which supplies oxygen-rich blood. The liver also receives blood from the portal vein, which filters blood from the stomach, intestines, pancreas, and spleen. Although liver damage from cirrhosis is irreversible, the disease usually progresses slowly and symptoms are often controllable. Specific treatment for cirrhosis depends on the underlying cause, but anyone with cirrhosis must avoid alcohol and other substances that harm the liver. When damage is so severe that liver function is seriously impaired a liver transplant may be the only option.
The liver is a large organ that sits in the right upper abdomen just under the right lung. It makes proteins that regulate blood clotting and produces bile to help absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Cirrhosis is the twelfth leading cause of death by disease, killing about 26,000 people each year. But as liver function deteriorates you may experience fatigue exhaustion, nausea, unintended weight loss and swelling in your legs and abdomen. In time, jaundice a yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes and intense itching can develop. Alcoholism and chronic infection with the hepatitis C virus are the leading causes of cirrhosis. There are many causes of cirrhosis; they include chemicals (such as alcohol, fat, and certain medications) viruses toxic metals (such as iron and copper that accumulate in the liver as a result of genetic diseases), and autoimmune liver disease in which the body's immune system attacks the liver. But other factors including damaged bile ducts immune system problems and prolonged exposure to certain environmental toxins can cause liver scarring, too.
Causes of Cirrhosis
The common Causes of Cirrhosis :
- Alcohol abuse.
- Exposure to certain environmental toxins.
- Chronic viral infections.
- Blockage of the bile ducts.
- Use of certain drugs.
- Adverse reactions to some drugs such as methotrexate and vascular disorders of the liver.
- Immune liver diseases such as auto-immune hepatitis and primary biliary cirrhosis.
- Metabolic disorders such as Wilson's disease and Hemochromatosis.
- Chronic hepatitis B and C infection.
Symptoms of Cirrhosis
Some Symptoms of Cirrhosis :
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itchy skin.
- Vomiting blood
- Swelling of the legs
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite.
- A brownish or orange tint to the urine.
Treatment of Cirrhosis
- Cortisone medicine helps treat autoimmune hepatitis and cirrhosis.
- Ursodiol (Actigall) and other drugs have been helpful in treating primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis.
- Toxins and injurious drugs must be avoided.
- Restricting salt and using fluid pills (diuretics ) reduce edema and abdominal swelling.
- Bleeding veins in the esophagus can be injected with sclerosing (clotting) agents or closed with small rubber bands. Occasionally, surgery is necessary to prevent recurrent massive bleeding.
- The alcoholic patient must permanently stop consuming alcohol.
- Coagulopathy may be treated with blood products or vitamin K.
- Infections are treated with antibiotics.
- Ascites (excess abdominal fluid) is treated with diuretics, fluid and salt restriction, and removal of fluid (paracentesis).
- Bleeding varices are treated by upper endoscopy with banding or sclerosis.